Further to prior discussions on what boys and girls do, in my house we’ve stumbled across the most wonderful children’s book.
Entitled Sophie’s Misfortunes (part of the Fleurville Triology), it was written by a certain Countess de Segur way back in the 19th Century; we have the French -> English translation courtesy of a birthday present to my daughter recently.
Sophie is a young lady, probably aged around 8, and being raised in a well-off family in rural France;
“sometimes she’s good, but often she’s naughty, which gets her into all kinds of trouble”.
Best of all, Sophie displays all sorts of behavioural tendencies which you couldn’t describe as classically ‘girly’.
For one thing, Sophie has her own pocket knife. Which she wields with some abandon.
For example, when playing ‘house’ one day, her Nanny provided her with bread, almonds and lettuce leaves to make a salad. After chopping these, Sophie decided her salad needed some protein.
Enter Mama’s bowl full of pet fish.
“She went up to their bowl, fished them all out and…..spread them out on a board. But the fish were not happy to be out of the water and they wriggled and leapt about furiously. In an effort to keep them still, Sophie sprinkled some salt onto their back and onto their heads and tails. Now that certainly made them still. The poor little things were dead. When her plate was full, she took some more fish and started to slice them up. At the first touch of the knife, the poor creatures twisted and turned in desperation. But soon they were still too. They were all dead”.
Wow. No fairies, ponies, bunnies or butterflies here.
[image thanks to rockyeda on flickr]